Food Safety Broadcasts

WSGW RADIO PRESENTATION

July 24, 2018 - Home Canning Food Safety

Home canning is an excellent way to preserve garden produce and share it with family and friends.  But it can be risky – or even deadly – if not done correctly and safely.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) home-canned foods are a common source of botulism in the United States.  From 1996-2008, foods prepared in homes accounted for 48 of 116 foodborne botulism outbreaks.  Eighteen of those were linked to home-canned vegetables.

Botulism is a rare but potentially deadly illness caused by a poison most commonly produced by a germ called Clostridium botulinum.  The germ is found in soil and can survive, grow, and produce a toxin in certain conditions.  You cannot see, smell, or taste botulinum toxin – but even a small amount can be toxic.

How can you keep yourself and others safe when it comes to home canned foods?

  • Use reliable websites for recipes that have research tested places – avoid bloggers, neighbors, and grandma’s recipe that is 80 years old.
  • Some reliable sites include the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Michigan State University Extension and Ball www.freshpreserving.com.
  • Any canning recipe book that is more than 10 years old should be avoided because science changes and canning techniques do as well.
  • If you have a Ball Blue Book, check the publication date – it should be published within the last 7-8 years as recipes have changed.
  • Always use a pressure canner or cooker.  Pressure canning is the only recommended method for canning vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Boiling water canners will NOT help prevent botulism poisoning.
  • Electric multi-cookers are not safe and should not be used.
  • Be sure the gauge of the pressure canner or cooker is accurate.
  • Vent the pressure canner before pressurizing and follow the recommended cooling steps.

Look for signs the product could be contaminated like a leaking or swollen container, a damaged or cracked container, or discoloration of the food. 

Sources:       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention June 2018
                      Food Safety News, July 16, 2018
                      Michigan State University Extension

 

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